How to Prepare and Use a First-Aid Kit

About how to be prepared for first-aid emergencies or other heath problems, safety tips and supplies.

Your First-Aid Kit

Accidents are the most common cause of death after the 1st year of life and throughout the years of childhood and early adulthood; there-after, they remain one of the leading causes. Emergency situations cut across all dividing lines. Everyone is a potential victim. It is important to be aware of this.


1. Become familiar with first-aid procedures and techniques beforehand. For openers, take the very inexpensive first-aid course offered by the American Red Cross in your area.

All members of a household which has a potential problem--due to heart disease, epilepsy, a pregnancy, high danger of snakebites, small children susceptible to poisoning--should go over together the available literature on their specific condition. Do not trust a single source of information. Rather, shop around among the different sources until you arrive at a thorough understanding of the condition and its possible complications. Many doctors, hospitals, medical centers, State medical associations, and the American Red Cross put out excellent pamphlets on various medical emergencies and health conditions; avail yourself of these free, informative publications.

2. Equip your household and traveling "unit" (whether a backpack, VW bug, or a complete camper) with a first-aid kit and at least one comprehensive first-aid book. (See: FOR FURTHER READING, at end of article)

The first-aid kit should be well-stocked, appropriate both to the number and the state of health of the people to be serviced, as well as to the place (s) in which it will be used. Obviously, a wilderness expedition will have to consider many situations not relevant to an urban residence, and a factory must anticipate emergencies different from those expected in a preschool play group.

3. Practice safety about the house, yard, and when driving. Use foresight, consideration, and responsibility in your everyday dealings with your environment. Discuss first-aid prevention and what to do in various emergencies with your household. Let each member of the family study a particular emergency, and have each one conduct drills for the entire family. Take care to prevent small children from developing morbid fears.

4. Live a healthy life. You might be helped by meditation or some other form of centering. If you eat healthy, well-chosen foods and can combine physical exercise, rest, and interesting mental activity, your chances of recovering from a serious injury are greatly increased.

5. If you have any special health problems, it is wise to wear a Medic Alert tag or carry an explanatory card. The identification should pinpoint your problem, tell which drugs are helpful or harmful to you, and give your blood type. The Medic Alert Foundation International of Turlock, California 95380 (phone 1-209-634-4917), sells pendants or bracelets with the above information. It also maintains a central file with detailed information on each member. This information is available to a first-aider or a physician 24 hours a day, and requires only a collect phone call.

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